Brooklyn sophisti-pop / smooth-rock quartet Office Culture‘s November 23rd appearance at Cattivo with Mrs. Paintbrush and Cosmic Wind. The show is a sort of homecoming for Office Culture’s Winston Cook-Wilson and Pat Kelly Office, both of which played in the Pittsburgh band Ball Of Flame Shoots Fire. Office Culture are scheduled to play NPR’s Mountain Stage the following day.
Saturday, Nov 23rd
Office Culture, Mrs. Paintbrush, Cosmic Wind
Cattivo — 146 44th St, Pittsburgh
8pm, show info here
Office Culture’s new song “I Move in Shadows” was recently included on NPR Slingshot’s Best New Songs.
“Office Culture channels the spirits of Donald Fagen, Warren Zevon and even early Tom Waits to create a sound imbued with a playful spirit that’s able to retain a genuine sincerity and emotion too. Furthermore, despite drawing upon such figures, the Office Culture style is very much its own beast, a singular, twenty-first century take on the smooth sound that acknowledges its influences without wishing to become them.”
— Various Small Flames
“With ‘I Move in Shadows,’ Office Culture showcases its aptitude for trouble-free tempos paired with idiosyncratic vocals. The New York band is calling out for our attention and we can’t help but listen.”
— Mountain Stage
Office Culture — the 4-piece sophisti-pop / smooth-rock group from Brooklyn featuring musician/writer Winston Cook-Wilson (voice/keyboard), Ian Wayne (guitar/keyboards), Charlie Kaplan (bass), and Pat Kelly (drums)– have shared a second single from their 2nd full length album A Life of Crime, out Nov. 1 on Whatever’s Clever.
“I Move In Shadows” premieres at PopMatters today, along with a video and an in-depth Q+A with Cook-Wilson:
“I Move in Shadows” is the first song I wrote for the record. It’s about feeling like you’re playing some bizarre long game in the interest of trying to keep a relationship together. I was thinking a lot about the idea of “compromise”—what that actually means in practice, and whether that is actually the key to two people being able to co-exist and stay in love with one another. I was listening pretty much exclusively to Curtis Mayfield at the time, especially ‘There’s No Place Like America Today,’ which is one of my favorite albums of all time.
The video, which is mostly Ian’s handiwork—Ian plays keys and guitar in the band, and plays his own music as Ian Wayne—is what it appears to be: a video about Ian and I trying to figure out how to make a music video. In addition to aiming for a meta, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm kind of thing, and thinking it would be funny if there were a ton of distracting subtitles, we also wanted to make something that felt like an honest depiction of the band’s dynamic, with a little bit of a story to it. There is a lot of nonsense and bullshitting banter like that in my real friendship with Ian, and we do regularly drive to gigs in my filthy Accord and get way too hopped up on iced coffee. Ian’s kind of my Kramer, but he might say the same thing about me.
The show in the video is in an old, disintegrating loft in Williamsburg that I think has been demolished since we filmed there.
Read the full interview at PopMatters, here.
Office Culture will celebrate ‘A Life of Crime’ at Union Pool on Nov. 3 with Alena Spanger and Renata Zeiguer. The band have also been asked to perform on NPR’s revered Mountain Stage in November. A full list of live dates sits just below.
‘A Life of Crime’ is out Nov. 1 on Whatever’s Clever. Pre-order it at Bandcamp.
About the band
Listening to Office Culture’s A Life of Crime is like walking into a beloved old bar in a neighborhood where you no longer live: the staff welcomes you warmly, the drinks are just as strong, but the place feels haunted somehow—and you can’t tell if the familiar old faces are the ghosts, or if you are. On the surface, it’s easy to slot Winston Cook-Wilson into the canon of songwriters like Donald Fagen, Warren Zevon, maybe even early Tom Waits: sardonic sometimes but not unsentimental, crafting scenes of rainy nights in the city and giving life to the lonely lovers and goodhearted scoundrels who populate them. Listen closer and you may detect hints of Joni Mitchell: in the jazz-inflected chords and melodies that flow like conversations, the way a personal detail might widen into a universal observation within the scope of a line. Go even deeper and you’ll find a deep devotion to classic song form, inherited from early-20th-century pop standards. Taken all together, the music combines the most impressionistic strains of American songwriting with the most carefully structured.
This description may be leading you to an image of a man alone at the piano, spinning out stories all evening, but that’s only half the picture. Office Culture the band (featuring Ian Wayne on guitar and keyboards, Pat Kelly on drums, and Charlie Kaplan on bass) create a sonic world that’s as rich and enveloping as the narratives themselves, drawing from the immaculate surfaces of ‘70s and ‘80s soft rock, the quiet intensity of Talk Talk, the chilly expanses of ECM jazz. In 2019, these sounds are pretty familiar to good record collectors, but they’ve never been combined in quite this way, or married to a set of songs so affecting and incisive. In A Life of Crime, the party’s always winding down, “the balloons are clinging to the floor,” but you find yourself wanting to stay. There’s an ex-lover across the room who might be persuaded to rekindle the old flame, or at least humor you for a while. And in your lost and besotted current state, the sad songs playing over the speakers are the most beautiful music in the world.
— Andy Cush, friend of Office Culture
PRAISE FOR OFFICE CULTURE:
“With vocals reminiscent of Smokey Robinson, and slow and groovy instrumentals
interwoven with refined pop and jazz influences, these Brooklyn[ites] conjure up
smooth music that’s at once sophisticated and easy on the ear.”
– The Deli Magazine
“a blend of pop music that’s as refreshing as it is nostalgic”
– Austin Town Hall
“I should have been drinking a glass of red wine while listening”
– Impose Magazine